KARMAI Community Children’s Centre has an exciting new addition to its kinder program.
Jamie, who is a trained assistance dog, attends the daily kinder sessions with a young boy named Tayeton.
Jamie was introduced to Tayeton this year to help him with mobility and daily functions and the kinder has embraced the duo with great enthusiasm and support.
Tayeton was born a healthy baby boy and up to the age of eight months was doing all the normal things a baby of his age should.
During the following 10 months his mother, Danielle, started noticing that he was becoming unresponsive and stopped making developmental progress.
At 18 months he started banging his head and Danielle knew that something was wrong.
Following a number of paediatric visits, getting glasses and hearing aids, he was diagnosed with a rare mutated form of Usher Syndrome.
This debilitating condition causes blindness and deafness.
Although he has some sight left in his eyes, he is legally blind and will sadly one day lose his sight entirely.
Since Jamie was partnered with Tayeton they have formed a wonderful partnership and made an important bond that will see them through for many years to come.
Jamie came from a not for profit organisation in Queensland called Smart Pups, who specialise in providing trained Service Dogs to assist children with special needs.
The service they provide does not come cheap and costs in excess of $25,000.
Jamie was trained with the organisation from the age of eight weeks until he was 14 months old when placed with Tayeton’s family.
Smart Pups trained Danielle for an intensive week in her home, so that she could manage Jamie effectively.
They also provide ongoing support.
Danielle said the changes she has seen in Tayeton’s life since the partnership began have been remarkable.
Jamie not only provides Tayeton with a sense of calm and security, he keeps him safe when navigating across roads, rough surfaces or new surroundings.
At times Tayeton’s debilitating condition has caused him emotional stress but Jamie is always there to provide the love needed to stabilise him.
Jamie has already proved his worth over and over again.
He can open cupboards for him, take his shoes and socks off and has braced Tayeton when falling and can even help him up.
Danielle and the Karmai Kindergarten teachers have collaborated to make Jamie’s transition into the kinder program so successful.
Danielle put together a book for all the attending children to read with the educators and learn the rules and responsibilities that come with having an assistance dog.
Danielle has commended the educators and children at the centre for respecting the role that Jamie fulfils.
A kennel was bought for him which he enters when the children eat and when his red jacket is on everyone knows that he is working and can’t be touched.
Danielle must be present with Jamie at all times and shares that responsibility with her close friend, Mary, who now lives with them to best support their situation.
Tayeton has been on a long journey to get to where he is now and still has a long journey ahead of him.
Danielle knows that it wouldn’t be possible without the support of the local community and its services.
The Lions Club of Korumburra has provided a much needed financial support and recently awarded Tayeton with a bravery award.
He received a medal and a certificate at a big ceremony, where Danielle’s family were all invited to celebrate and watch Tayeton’s momentous occasion.
They have also set up a fundraising bank account that will provide Tayeton with financial support for ongoing medical and educational costs.
You can make a donation or just visit Tayeton’s Facebook account at Lions Club of Korumburra/Tayeton Fund at BSB: 083705, ACC: 243791724.
A young hero